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Kenya’s first woman warship commader : The Standard

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When Faith Mwagandi (pictured) was admitted to Kenyatta University for a Bachelor of Arts degree, it came as a shocker.
In high school at Moi Girls Eldoret, she had scored impressive As and was hoping for a career in medicine. Instead, she ended up being selected by the Joint Admissions Board to pursue a general degree course.
She spent a mere three weeks at the university before a newspaper advertisement calling for candidates to enlist as cadets in the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) caught her attention.
‘’I was eager for a quick career change after my disappointment in being left out to do medicine. The military, which was not a familiar territory for me at all, was my next target,’’ Major Mwagandi said in an interview aboard KNS Shujaa.
Maj Mwagandi from Magarini Sub-county in Kilifi was successful in her bid for cadet enlistment and got a call up to report for training at the Kenya Military Academy in Lanet in 2007.
During her cadet training, she attained a diploma in Military Science and would later, after a stint in the military, attain a degree through distance learning from Egerton University.
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In her military career progression, Mwagandi, who is married and has a five-year-old daughter, trained locally and abroad with stints at both the Kenya Navy headquarters in Mtongwe, Mombasa and Manda Navy Base in Lamu for her junior officer conversion courses.
“During the conversion training, we attended both class work, went to sea and did administrative training,” she said.
Her first ship was the KNS Galana, a supply and logistic vessel of the Kenya Navy, where she was a trainee cadet.
She would turn out to be the best student in her class and got an opportunity to attend the prestigious Brittania Royal Naval College in May 2010 for the Royal Navy Young Officers’ course.
‘’Here, the course duration was seven months with four involving going out to sea for navigation practicals and sea manoeuvres. “We trained along the English Channel, the Atlantic Ocean and in Belgium,” she said.
Maj Mwagandi sailed aboard HMS Bulwak, a Landing Platform Dock that was extensively used for training.
During her training in the UK, Mwagandi, then a Lieutenant, underwent extensive practical application of naval training, leadership, command and management.
She returned home in 2010 and was posted to the Kenya Navy Training School as an instructor.
Mwagandi would later do duty aboard Kenya’s first research vessel, the RV Mtafiti owned by the Kenya Marine Fisheries Research Institute, but fully manned by the Kenya Navy, as a navigating officer between 2016 and 2017.
Her next stop was at the KNS Shujaa, where she was deployed as a principal warfare officer in 2017.
She was part of the naval crew making her maiden voyage after the ship underwent a mid-life refit in the Netherlands.
Mwagandi is currently in active Amisom duties in Somalia assigned aboard KNS Shupavu, where she got extra roles.
The officer urged women keen on taking up a career in the Navy to step forward and take up the challenge.
“KDF offers equal opportunities for all genders and does not discriminate,’’ she said.

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Senate committee recommends removal of Wajir Governor Abdi

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The Nyamira Senator Okon’go Omogeni-chaired committee found that the Wajir county boss was guilty of gross violation of the Constitution by flouting the County Government Act, Public Procurement Act and Asset Disposal Act and the Public Finance Management Act.
The committee, however,  absolved the governor from abuse of office and Gross Misconduct charges, saying the Members of County Assembly did not provide sufficient evidence.
The final vote on his proposed impeachment by the Senate takes place on Monday evening. 
Mohamud was impeached on Tuesday, April 27, after 37 MCAs voted in favour of his ouster, while 10 opposed his removal.
The MCAs cited financial impropriety, abuse of office, gross misconduct and violation of the Constitution as grounds for his removal.
They accused the county boss of breaching Articles 235 of the Constitution, the County Government Act, and the Public Service Act by allegedly constantly reshuffling county officers.
They also faulted the governor for flouting the Public Procurement Act and Asset Disposal Act.
The Senate voted to have him tried in a committee with 28 senators voting in favour of the committee, 14 for plenary while two abstained. Okong’o Omogeni was deputized by Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika in the 11-member committee.

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The committee held sittings between Wednesday, May 12 and Thursday, May 13 before retreating to write the report over the weekend. The report was tabled in a special sitting on Monday, May 17. 

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Better living conditions for incarcerated children and women

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A day care center officially unveiled by Winnie Guchu, the CAS Ministry of interior and coordination. [Muriithi Mugo, Standard]

The prisons’ service, in partnership with Faraja Foundation, has rolled out a rehabilitation programme for inmates.
The programme targets enhancing structures at the correctional facilities and making them friendlier to prison staff and inmates.
Jane Kuria, the CEO of Faraja Foundation, says the non-governmental organisation aims for successful reintegration of inmates to the community upon release from prison.
“Faraja Foundation wants to be remembered for supporting former convicts to reintegrate back to the community,” Kuria noted.
She added that many ex-convicts had to start lives afresh after jail terms, hence the need to help them fill the gap in reintegrating with society.
Donating beds and other items was a way of helping inmates survive and get rehabilitated in preparation for their return to society, she added.
The foundation aims to distribute 2,160 beds to the 43 women prisons that hold about 2,615 inmates and 210 children accompanying them.

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Daris Kangi the Officer in charge Embu women’s prison (L) chats with Winnie Guchu, the CAS Ministry of interior and coordination at the newly unveiled daycare at the Prison. Through a partnership with Faraja Foundation, the Prisons service will also distribute 2160 beds to all Women Prisons across the country. May 13, 2021. [Muriithi Mugo,Standard]

Speaking during the unveiling of day-care built by Faraja at Embu Women’s prison, Kuria said children jailed with their mothers did not deserve to undergo hardship.

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David Bett, chair of Faraja Foundation, challenged stakeholders to consider a review of the open-door policy that will also see prison staff benefit more.
Winnie Guchu, the Ministry of Interior and Coordination CAS, said the government had targeted to have day-care centres in all women’s prisons.
“Women convicted with children lacked caretakers of their children at home and this forced them to carry the babies along for the duration of their sentences,” said Ms Guchu.
She said the children were innocent and that they had the right to a conducive environment for growth through the day-care centres.
“These children should have places for entertainment, playing as well as good sleeping areas,” said Guchu.
She unveiled the day-care center and received 160 of 2,160 beds from the Faraja Foundation, destined for distribution in all the 43 women’s prisons countrywide.
Also present was Commissioner of Prisons Wycliffe Ogallo. 

 

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What you need to know about the Juja by-election

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The late Juja MP Francis Waititu aka Wakapee.

The Juja parliamentary seat became vacant after MP Francis Waititu succumbed to brain cancer on February 22, 2021 at MP Shah Hospital.
Waititu was elected on a Jubilee ticket during the 2017 General Election. He garnered 66,190 votes.
According to IEBC, Juja constituency has 114,761 registered voters.
The 2017 General Election had an 80 per cent voter turn-out which saw 91,801 Kenyans casting their votes in the region.  
The by-election
On Tuesday, May 18, 2021, voters in the Juja constituency will head to the polls to elect their next member of parliament.
A total of eleven candidates will square it out in the mini poll.

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Jubilee Party By-election Juja MP Nominee Susan Njeri Waititu during certificate issuance at the Party’s Headquarters in Nairobi on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Main contenders

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1. Waititu Susan Njeri – Jubilee Party
2. Ndung’u George Koimburi – Progressive Empowerment Party (PEP)
Others:
3. Mwangi Kariuki Chege – Independent
4. Kagera Eunice Wanjiru – The New Democrats (TND)
5. Kariuki Joseph Gichui –  Independent
6. Kariuki Rashid Iregi –  Independent
7. Marungo James Kariuki – Independent
8. Mburu John Njoroge – People’s Party of Kenya (PPK)
9. Ndung’u Antony Kirori – Maendeleo Chap Chap Party (MCCP)
10. Ndung’u Kennedy Gachuma – National Liberal Party (NLP)
11. Zulu Julius Thiong’o – Independent

 

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